Say Goodbye to Hurricanes (Say Goodbye My Baby)

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For you youngsters.
With apologies to Billy Joel, I doubt anyone along the Texas coastline is as sad to see hurricane season go as he was to part with Los Angeles, but for several weeks now, hurricane season for our neck of the woods has been done. And while hurricane season officially runs through the end of November, the entire Atlantic Basin has had a dud of a year when it comes to tropical weather.

According to an expert from Texas A&M's Department of Atmospheric Sciences, dry air has mainly been the culprit, but we still managed 11 named storms thus far even if there haven't been any large hurricanes or landfalls.

"We started off the season with several back in June and July, but then August and September, usually the most active months, were very slow," explains TAMU storm expert Robert Korty in a press release.

"If you had to point to one reason, it would be dry air. The dry air coming across the Atlantic from Africa prevented a lot of storms from developing during August, and the ones that did develop were not very strong. So the result has been a hurricane season of about normal in number of storms, but these have been relatively weak ones so far."

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Weather Week: As the Cool Weather Moves in, Wave Goodbye to Hurricane Season

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Photo by Daniel Kramer
Until next year, hurricane season. Until next year.
Recently, we wrote about the anniversary of Hurricane Ike and showed you just how much has changed with then and now photos. Another devastating hurricane, Carla, had its anniversary recently as well. While this year has mostly been a dud, we still have a couple months officially left in the season. Fortunately, we won't have to worry about it, but more on that in a moment.

The weekend brought rain...a lot of rain. Most of the Houston area got at least 2 inches of rain and as much as 5, though one area reportedly got 7. That won't get us completely out of the clutches of drought conditions, but it sure helps. Along with the rain came decidedly cooler temperatures dipping into the mid-60s Sunday morning.

It's going to warm up through the middle of the week all the way back up to the mid 90s before another cool front approaches early next week. Rain chances should increase ahead of the front by the weekend. If forecasters are right -- and it's a long ways out for an accurate forecast -- we could see low temperatures in the 50s by the middle of next week.

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Weather Week: Tropics Should Begin to Die Down, but Rain Chances Increase

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It's almost over.
The Houston area received a good dose of rain Monday afternoon as our typical warm, muggy and occasionally rainy summer forecast played out. Still, we are way behind where we need to be when it comes to precipitation. We may not be at 2011 levels of drought, but we are very dry regardless. Any rainfall is a blessing.

On that note, it looks as if we may get more rain this week, particularly as we head towards the weekend. By Friday, forecasts are calling for as much as a 70 percent chance of the wet stuff. Until then, expect the same heat, humidity and chances for showers every day. Highs should be in the low to mid 90s until cloud cover takes over late in the week and we seem them drop to the upper 80s.

Now that we are past the midway point in September, temperatures should quickly start moving downward. Don't expect any 75-degree days this month, but afternoons nearly 100 should certainly be over for the year.

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UPDATE: Hurricane Ingrid in the Gulf Won't Threaten Texas, but May Bring Rain

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No threat to Texas, but Ingrid could bring rain later this week.
Update: Ingrid made landfall this morning. It appears she isn't much of a threat to Texas for rain, unfortunately, but we will have a good chance at tropical moisture by the end of the week from the Gulf. More on that tomorrow in my regular weekly weather update.

The second hurricane of the year is currently in the extreme southern Gulf of Mexico and is forecast to make landfall in Mexico late today or early Tuesday. It won't reach more than category 1 status, but it will bring a tremendous amount of rain to Mexico. It could be a very dangerous situation there due to flooding and mudslides.

Southern Texas should get a little rain thanks to Ingrid, but as the week goes on, the remnants of the storm may actually bring quite a bit of rain to much of Texas as it gradually meanders north.

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Weekend Weather: Tropical Storm Ingrid Could Be Brewing in the Gulf

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Courtesy National Hurricane Center
Soon-to-be Tropical Storm Ingrid could bring rain next week.
It's Friday again, thank God. The weekend brings with it quite a lot, actually. There are some pretty big football games, an Astros home stand and quite possibly a tropical storm in the Gulf of Mexico. At the moment it is hot and will continue to get hotter. Expect it to reach the mid to upper 90s today under mostly sunny skies. Even though a mild cool front will sag into southeast Texas tonight, we should expect to see cooler weather or rain from it, at least not in Houston. Areas north of the city could see some rain however.

Tomorrow brings more of the same hot and sunny weather, but it's Sunday when things get unpredictable thanks to tropical moisture in the form of Tropical Depression 10 currently in the extreme southern Gulf, which brings me to...

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Hurricane Ike: Then and Now in Photos

Categories: Hurricanes

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Photos by Daniel Kramer.
Today is the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Ike. When it swept through Houston in 2008 -- and was subsequently swept under the rug by national media thanks to a collapsing economy -- it packed much more punch than anyone expected. A massive storm that, at one point, filled almost the entire Gulf of Mexico, Ike was, by traditional measures, weaker than 1993's Hurricane Alicia but no less devastating. It confounded forecasters and helped to redefine the standard Saffir-Simpson scale for ranking hurricanes.

Houston Press photographer Daniel Kramer shot some amazing photos from Houston to Galveston in the aftermath of Hurricane Ike, showcasing the devastation from boats in the middle of the street to dozens of flooded roads and highways; from downtown streets lined with shards of glass from blown out skyscraper windows to mounds of detritus washed ashore during the storm.

"I remember it so well," Kramer said. "It was exhausting but exhilarating week. I hated coming back in."


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Two Tropical Storms in the Atlantic and Neither is a Threat to the U.S.

Categories: Hurricanes

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Nothing to see here.
For the first time this hurricane season, the Atlantic has two tropical storms simultaneously. Tropical Storm Gabrielle re-formed and should pass over Bermuda this week before gradually moving north, well east of the U.S. coastline. Tropical Storm Humberto has a very good chance to be this season's first hurricane as it moves harmlessly out to see off the coast of Africa.

We are now right at the peak of hurricane season in the Atlantic and we have yet to see the formation of a hurricane, which is rather remarkable, but that will likely change today or tomorrow with Humberto.

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Rock You Like a You Know What: Why Hurricane Season Should Heat Up and Stop Being So Lame

Categories: Hurricanes

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The cat is purring...
Since 1995, the Atlantic Basin has been in a period of higher-than-normal activity for tropical storms. This is a phenomena referred to as the Atlantic Multi-Decadal Oscillation. It basically means that for periods of 20-40 years (or longer), there is an increase in storm activity across the Atlantic. To better illustrate, Hurricane Alicia struck Galveston in late August, 1983. Since storms are named in alphabetical order, that made Alicia the first storm of that year. By contrast, we had five named storms by August 15, the date Alicia formed in 1983.

While this season may very well live up to the predictions in terms of named storms -- the earliest forecasts called for 20 named storms -- simply because we have a lot of time between now and the end of the season, it is hard to imagine 2013 will measure up to the forecasts simply because none of the storms that have formed have made it to hurricane strength.

There has only been one season in the recorded era -- 2011 -- when more tropical storms formed in a row with none of them reaching hurricane status. It's rare. Obviously, it has been a good thing because it means we have been free of the kind of tropical weather we do not want -- major hurricanes -- but still peppered with tropical moisture from the Gulf, something we haven't gotten with regularity in a couple years.

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Weather Week: As Rain Clears, The Tropics Get Busy

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Get it? Tropics?
Despite the gloomy conditions the past few days, Houston and the surrounding area hasn't received a lot of rain. On average about a half to three-quarters of an inch of rain has fallen since Saturday, but we'll take what we can get. Most of the rain has been due to a tropical disturbance in the Gulf that moved our direction.

By Tuesday, most of the rain will push out of the area and high pressure will reassert itself. The result will be high temperatures back into the mid and upper 90s with mostly clear and humid days, as per normal for the end of August. Days are beginning to get shorter, however, if ever so slowly and it is only a matter of weeks before we likely experience our first cool front of the fall.

Before then, our typical summer weather pattern of heat, humidity and the occasional shower will remain in place. And, don't look now, but that slow start to hurricane season may have finally given way to some activity.

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The Last Hurricane: Houston Has Been Lucky Since Alicia 30 Years Ago

Categories: Hurricanes

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On my first day of high school, my parents drove me from my aunt's house. We were all living there because our house on the north side of town still had no power thanks to Hurricane Alicia, a storm that hit Houston 30 years ago this past weekend. And while Alicia may not have been a monster storm -- technically a Category 3, but not nearly as strong as a bigger storm like Hurricane Rita -- it did a ton of damage, flooded the city and knocked the power out for thousands of residents.

But it was Houston's last great hurricane. As tough as Ike was on parts of Galveston and certainly Bolivar Peninsula, the wind damage it inflicted on Houston proper was relatively modest compared to Alicia and the water damage wasn't anything like Tropical Storm Allison.

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